If you caught the Cooking Channel's Best in Chow Season 2 episode last night, "BBQ Wars Miami," you'll know that yet another TV show has rolled through our tip of the state looking for picturesque backdrops and culinary drama. The BBQ episode pitted Downtown joint Sparky's Roadside Barbecue with North Miami's Bo Legs BBQ and Biscayne Corridor eatery Bulldog Barbecue & Burger. The premise is simple and not entirely unlike other food shows that showcase similar cuisine by area and creates competition out of thin air.
Host Cris Nannarone, a standup comedian with a large appetite, opens every segment of the triptych by engaging people on the street and asking them where he can find some good "(insert thematic food here)." He then does a small intro to the restaurant, meets the chefs/owners, witnesses the creation of a signature dish and samples it. At the end of the show, the people he spoke with on the street are invited to each restaurant to sample the food and tally up points. Those points are then added up and a winner is declared.
In Miami, Sparky's and Bo came down to a tie in the tally and Nannarone broke it in favor of Bo Legs BBQ. This episode was filmed in January of this year and while they were here, they also used it as an opportunity to film a Pizza War in Ft. Lauderdale.
Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza
Airing immediately after, the "Pizza Wars Ft. Lauderdale" show put the challenge on Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza's Meatball and Ricotta pie against kitchenetta's Bianco di Parma and Dough Boys' Margherita with Seafood. All three pies sound like fun but what is certainly not fun is Nannarone's demeanor and slight "having it his way" attitude. If you're going to judge someone's creation, shouldn't you let them create? Nannarone's insistence that his pies be "well done" was kind of annoying.
At Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, he introduced owner Anthony Bruno and pizzaiolo Michelangelo Mozzicato who spoke about their chain of stores and their meatball guy while poor Pepe worked the oven in the background, looking a little sad at the mention that he had not had a day off since he started at the oven in 1999. Small talk was also made with longtime business partner Dan Marino in the parking lot and when the beloved Dolphins quarterback mentioned the cauliflower-topped pizza, Nannarone made his disgust known.
This man also seems to hate vegetarians.
Owner Vincent Foti over at trendy kitchenetta went jab for jab with the host in his nasal New York voice that was booming enough to keep Nannarone's to a minimum. There he assembled his five cheese white pizza and topped it with prosciutto di Parma and arugula. The arugula, due to its natural green coloring and healthy attributes was at the receiving end of a carnivorous barb from the host.
Up last were the twins over at Dough Boys Pizzerias, Randy and Scott Greenfield. After the requisite jokes concerning telling them apart, the guys got to building their Margherita pizza with seafood. Generous portions of shrimp atop seemed to impress the Nannarone.
Craig Agranoff of WorstPizza.com fame was called in as the resident expert for the episode.
The panel of nine judges that Nannarone assembled from the street voted kitchenetta's Bianco di Parma as Ft. Lauderdale's "Best Pizza" so now you know.
But how does one truly judge a pizza? Isn't it a bit arbitrary and "reality TV" for these shows to tell us who is the best? If you like your crust thin and loaded with cheese and meat, you'd go for that. If peppery arugula atop sweet prosciutto on a bed of unpronounceable cheeses is something you fancy better, we all know where you'll order. If you're not of the outmoded school that prevents cheeses from interacting with shellfish, we've got a pair of twins that can help.
Thanks for spotlighting some restaurants in South Florida. It's nice for the Cooking Channel to concentrate on the restaurants and not just rehashing stock footage of South Beach but we here in South Florida will continue to eat our pizzas wherever we like, because we do have a ton of delicious establishments to choose from. We'd also like to invite the host, Cris Nannarone to use our splendid beaches for some rays the next time he's in town; homeboy's legs could use a little color.
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